December 12, 1996 4:30 PM ET
IBM's Thompson relinquishes OS/2 helm
By Norvin Leach

  John W. Thompson, general manager of IBM's Personal Software Products division and caretaker of OS/2, said today he is leaving the division to become general manager of the company's North American sales and service operation.

Thompson insisted that his job shift had nothing to do with the future of OS/2.

"This is only about an opportunity for me," he said. "We plan to continue to run PSP as a stand-alone division, and OS/2 will be a critical part of our plan for delivering Intel solutions. We have no intentions, none whatsoever, of changing the course or strategy that we're on.''

Thompson said that John M. Thompson, senior vice president of IBM's software group, has a short list of candidates for general manager of the division and expects to name a replacement within a few days.

Until then, Donn Atkins, vice president of marketing for the division, will act as general manager.

Thompson's move comes as the result of a shift in IBM's global vertical-market sales strategy. Today the company announced it had reorganized its global sales and service organization to create a single brand. A new IBM team will deliver hardware, software and services to vertical industry segments in a standard way across the globe.

The team will be headed up by David Thomas, whose current position as general manager, IBM North America, is being filled by Thompson.

With this move, the 47-year-old Thompson returns to the division he left two and a half years ago. Thompson, a lifelong IBM employee, had been general manager of marketing for IBM North America before joining PSP. Prior to that, he was vice president and general manager of the Midwest sales and service operation.

Under his reign, PSP shifted its strategy from offering an all-purpose operating system that would compete head-to-head with Windows to a more business-focused, network-centric approach that leverages Java.

PSP also closed its Boca Raton, Fla., office and consolidated into a single operation in Austin, Texas.

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